My son’s Sunday school class, at the local Unitarian-Universalist Church, is learning about other world religions this year, and visiting various places of worship. My son is an avowed atheist, as I was at his age (I ultimately became very spiritual in a non-church, agnostic, rationalistic sort of way), but his mother makes him go on the weekends he spends with her.
Yesterday, though, the group was going out to visit the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (temple), the largest Hindu temple outside of India, which is in, of all places, Lilburn, GA, not what you’d generally consider a main center of culture of any kind, except maybe the sort you get at Walmart. I’ve been wanting to see this place since it was built, and have a huge respect for the Hindu faith, so even though it was my weekend with Nathaniel, I accepted his mother’s invitation for us all to go see.
The place is simply astonishing. Continue reading
As of today, Doctor Spartacus Wilde and his swashbuckling and brilliant offspring, Brian and Wren, returned to action, after resting a bit following their epic defeat of the Frogs of Doom. (Read about that adventure in the first book, coming out in May 2009!)
NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, has commenced. My son and I, both participating, tossed our computers in packs, shouldered the packs, and hiked out on a journey of literaturing. We camped in a nice cafe’ with wifi and wrote the afternoon away.
His goal, decided upon based on other factors like school, martial arts classes, drum lessons, afternoon science club, and such, is 100 words a day, to result in a 3,000 word story at month’s end.
My goal, as an adult participant (not to mention full-time writer), is 1,500 words a day, toward an ultimate goal of 50,000 words.
I usually write 1,000 words a day, but today’s 1,500 came easily, and I’m very happy with the book’s beginning. I did decide that this project would be the next Doc Wilde adventure, Doc Wilde and The Daughter of Darkness.
I have some friends who are allegedly participating in the month’s writing, and we’ll see if they are. They, or anyone else who’s playing, can sign up to be my writing buddy over at NaNoWriMo.org, and we can watch our progress bars grow and stuff. My user name is outlawmoon.
As a special treat, here’s Chapter 1 of my new book, in its rough, first draft, fresh-from-the-oven form: Continue reading
Okay, my last post listed 5 classic horror movies for those interested in such things.
This time, I’m gonna briefly list some more contemporary works that many people haven’t seen, and everybody who loves a good scare needs to. Continue reading
Hey, everybody! There’s a new “Saw” movie out!
You like movies that exist just so you can watch people be tortured, right?
Eh. Screw that crap. I like real horror movies, real monster movies, real thrillers. I have no problem with grue, but it has to be in context, and there has to be a goddamned story. Preferably a good story.
So, for those who might like to watch something scary and good, I figured I’d throw you a few bones. Collect ’em all and you can build a skeleton. Continue reading
As of 8:50 am today, I have done my voting for the year.
I stood in line in the morning chill for two hours. I was proud to be there, proud that so many of my fellow citizens were ahead of me in line, proud that many, many more were behind me. It was like I was in some third world country, some fledgling democracy, where people actually give a damn.
I guess eight years of Hell can be bracing for the democratic process. It’s a pity that’s what it took.
I voted for Barack Obama to be President of the United States of America.
I voted for Jim Martin to replace the vile Saxby Chamblis as Senator from Georgia.
I voted for John Lewis to remain in Congress to represent my district.
I figure, if folks keep slapping down the Republican efforts to suppress the vote, they won’t steal it this time, as they absolutely did in 2000, and likely did in 2004.
It’s time for the USA to become a force of good in the world again.
Start writing more. It’ll get rid of all those moods you’re having.
I used to have this quote on a sticky note stuck to my computer monitor, and it has never lost its wise charm for me. Bradbury is absolutely right: the act of writing, itself, is a great balm for heart and soul, and the gods all know by now I need that balm, these days more than ever.
I’m never happier or healthier than when I’m into a writing project full-tilt, over my head, spilling over. This isn’t to say that the writing is always enjoyable, because often it’s anything but. But the intense application of self produces satisfaction and engages the brain in wonderful ways and an act of pure creation is a soulful thing.
Writing something can be hard work, but the hardest part is beginning. Oh, and keeping at it. Yes, those are the hardest parts, along with ending it. Other than that, it’s all a breeze. Continue reading
The book is Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It’s about what happens when some tech-savvy teenagers are victimized by the national security cult running the USA these days, and the kids’ resulting stand against that cult and the government itself. It’s bracing, intelligent, important stuff, and it reads like a high-quality pulp page-turner.
Little Brother is widely available in bookstores, and of course on Amazon. But Cory has also made it available for free:
Check it out. Read a few chapters, and if you like what you read, grab a paid for copy for yourself or some kid you know or a library nearby.
When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he’d reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.
When I decided to read The Road by Cormac McCarthy, I had no idea I was going to be exploring the landscape of my own soul.
Before I continue, rest assured I’m not going to spoil the book for you. I don’t do that. The quotes I use are from the first few pages. Also, be warned that there’s a movie coming soon, so if you’re like me and prefer to get to a book before the movie comes along and plants all the images in your head, you should read this soon if you’re so inclined.
The novel tells the story of a man and his son, wandering an ashen post-apocalyptic America, scratching to survive. It is not an adventure story, not in the sense that an adventure story is meant to excite the reader, to offer escape. It is not Mad Max.
What it is, is a harrowing vision of living even when there seems to be no reason to live. Living in a world that no longer gives sustenance, a world without sunlight, a world that breaks the body and the heart and the soul every minute of every hour of every day.
The man takes his son onward through this barren, wasted world, mostly alone. Their moments of victory are petty and rare, a dusty sackful of mummified apples, a cup of fresh water, a warm blanket. They live lives without hope or comfort. They yearn for death. But they keep going.
Then he just sat there holding the binoculars and watching the ashen daylight congeal over the land. He knew only that the child was his warrant. He said: If he is not the word of God God never spoke.
The boy. The man stays alive for his son. His son stays alive because his father stays alive for him. They’re in Hell. They have no hope. They have each other. It’s stark and real and painful, in no way sentimental. It’s true.
He watched the boy and he looked out through the trees toward the road. This was not a safe place. They could be seen from the road now it was day. The boy turned in the blankets. Then he opened his eyes. Hi, Papa, he said.
I’m right here.
This is my life.
Someone called “Hedgehog” wrote this on their blog, which can be found at somehedgehog.livejournal.com.
It’s marvelous. Continue reading
As I near the publication of my first book, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, people are already asking about what’s next. What’s next is another Doc Wilde adventure, which I’m working on now, though not with the white hot intensity with which I do my best work, at least not yet.
I need to be obsessively committed to a writing project or it’ll take forever to finish. And here it is, October. Which means there’s something else to consider.
If you don’t know about it, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. I believe this is its tenth year. Its purpose is to encourage folks to write their asses off in November with the goal of having a 50,000 novel at the other end. You’re supposed to just write write write every day to meet your word count, without stressing over how good it is or if you’re choosing the right word or any self-editing. Editing will come in after November, when you can revisit the raw material you’ve produced and polish it up.
I’ve never taken part in NaNoWriMo, but always been interested and had decided to do it this year. I’m usually a relentless polisher of my stuff as I write, but when I let myself go and write just to write, I’m usually pleased with the results. I wrote Frogs of Doom that way deliberately, trying for that manic production push the pulp writers used, and it resulted in my first book sale. I’m thinking I need to make speedy, non-meticulous writing a habit.
My twelve year old son is going to be taking part in the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program, and is really excited about it. It’s going to be a great activity we can do together, intensely, for a month. I’m looking forward to it too.
If you’re interested in finding out more, go to http://www.nanowrimo.org. There are forums and widgets and all sorts of support material there, all aimed at motivating writers and allowing an online community to form. I’m gonna be there under the username outlawmoon. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Bummed about the Bush apocalypse the world is enjoying? Well, cheer up. Things are gonna be really shitty for a good long time, probably, because the one thing Bush isn’t incompetent at is screwing up, but there is one very bright light looming in the tunnel, if not at the end of it:
As of today, Sunday, October 12, George W. Bush has only 100 days left in office.
The second official endorsement of my novel, Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom, just arrived.
It’s from Quentin Dodd, author of The Princess of Neptune and Beatnik Rutabagas from Beyond the Stars:
Thank you for letting me read DOC WILDE AND THE FROGS OF DOOM. I should have had this done a week ago, but once I got about halfway through I started slowing down because I didn’t want it to end.
I really enjoyed this book. It was sharply-written, smart, and didn’t waste a word or a minute in getting to the action. Like its spiritual predecessors, the two-fisted adventure novels for boys and grown-up boys, this is a book to be read under the covers, with a flashlight, way past bedtime. It is old-school entertainment and proud of it.
By the time I got to page nine and [edited for slight spoilage], I knew I was onto something good. I think readers who have already discovered the man from Providence [that would be H.P. Lovecraft] and the Man of Bronze are in for an extra treat as well.
I certainly hope there are going to be sequels, and I can’t remember the last time I said that. Thanks again for giving me the chance to read it. I hope it does well.
P.S. I have to admit, reading something like this brings out mixed emotions. On one hand, I was excited and inspired to read something so good. On the other, I was annoyed that I hadn’t written it myself.
Just saw this great Watchmen ala Peanuts image on the Kotaku gaming site, and just had to share:
Love Rorshach Snoopy.
Here we see a video by the lovely, profane, and lovely comedian Sarah Silverman, in which she tries to convince young Jewish voters to visit their grandparents in Florida to get them to vote for Obama.
Vodpod videos no longer available.